Father and Son

Father and Son

Son,

I hope this finds you with a smile on your handsome face.

I wanted to share a few thoughts on the extraordinary election year we are now experiencing. Not long ago, someone asked why I had gone on about George W. Bush for so long. My response was, “That’s a great question. Thank you for asking.”

I explained how in the early 1960’s, when I was just a kid, I became a big fan of John F. Kennedy. Sure, a lot of that had nothing to do with politics. Kennedy was an extraordinarily charismatic man with a beautiful wife and two gorgeous children, and I was easily taken in. But there were substantive reasons as well. He spoke of the issues of the time – education, economics, foreign affairs, military power, respect for other nations and cultures, race relations, religion, space exploration – in a way even I could understand. John Kennedy was an Oscar winner!

After President Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, eight men have occupied the White House. Some had moments of brilliance. Reagan may have slept through summit meetings, set the stage for the homeless crisis still plaguing America, and falsely received credit for the demise of the Soviet Union, but the man could deliver a speech.

Jimmy Carter suffered politically from the economic fallout following the Vietnam War, failure to resolve the hostage crisis in Iran, and the nixing of American participation in the 1980 Olympics in Moscow, but he was his own man and, had we implemented his ideas, we would now be weaned from oil.

Like few men before him, Nixon grasped the intricacies of the political world. But even the presence of such pragmatism was an insufficient counterbalance to the dark side dominating his emotions.

Jerry Ford, though lovable, reminded us we needed something more than a surviving member of the Warren Commission to qualify as the leader of the free world.

Lyndon Johnson healed a nation, gave us Medicare, and human equality. His insistence, however, that he not be the first American president to lose a war fogged his thinking, leading to a fall from grace.

George H. W. Bush, the thinking man’s Ronald Reagan was anything but. His attempts at ridding himself of a wimp image were undermined by his backing down from the Mother of All Battles.

Bill Clinton was as fine a politician as the world has seen. His understanding of the issues coupled with an honest compassion for people, made him very special. Unfortunately, the shortchange he received as a child led to personal flaws in his adulthood, thus his downfall.

Up until 2001, most would agree Nixon was the worst of the lot. That changed, however, when George W. Bush showed up.  In my opinion, this second Bush combines all the bad traits of all the presidents going back to George Washington. Under his presidency, never-ending war became part of our national vernacular, torture entered the daily conversation, trillions of dollars went missing, and America ceased to be seen as a beacon of hope by billions. The unthinkable became thinkable …

Could the United States follow the Soviet Union down the path to oblivion?

I could go on about our current president, but I’ll spare you. The point of this letter is to build the case for the importance of the election of 2008. It now appears we are down to three candidates for our next president – John McCain, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama.

John McCain – His claim to fame is he was shot down over North Vietnam, captured, tortured, and subsequently renounced his country. George W. Bush and Karl Rove humiliated him in 2000 in South Carolina. By 2004, however, he’s in lockstep with these criminals to the point he’s demanding that the bombing of Iran begin now. Over the years, McCain’s self-cultivated image as a maverick may have served him well; however, the current McCain makes one wonder if he’s been lobotomized.

Hillary Clinton – It now appears the Hillary campaign has run out of gas. She had the most money, she was the most articulate, and she was the most prepared to deal with the Republican attack machine. Initially, I wanted her because I wanted Bill to clean up George W’s mess. Bill opened the door and let the rats in when he allowed the Lewinsky scandal to metastasize. I wanted his punishment to be a shovel and orders to go to work. Of course, he’d serve his sentence with a smile, and we’d all be better off.

Then Hillary blows it by saying she’s her own person and Bill won’t be in her administration; an act reminiscent of her vote in 2002 authorizing the invasion of Iraq – pure politics, and incredibly stupid. She knew better but she was afraid of appearing weak on terrorism. In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, she alone stood up in the Senate and asked the important question, “What did Bush know and when did he know it?” “Bravo Hillary!” I said. But her colleagues shot her down, and she ran for cover.

Since her non-victory on Super Tuesday, Hillary’s been on the ropes. She’s challenged Obama to a debate a week, she’s fired her campaign manager, she’s loaned her own money to her campaign, and she’s lost several primaries in a row. But she won’t concede, even if it plays to the Republicans.

Barack Obama – Like many, Obama first came into my life when he delivered his electrifying speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. Fresh, powerful, and young, he had it all. Then, last year, when he declared his candidacy, my heart was with him. My practical side, however, said let the Clinton’s clean things up, give Hillary her time, bring Barack in as vice president, and then crown him president in 2016.

Nevertheless, the combination of Hillary’s self-destruction and the people demanding a radical change from George W. Bush may mean Obama’s time is now. Knowing America as I do, I have my concerns. However, if it’s now, then I’m there, throwing caution to the wind and supporting Barack Obama one hundred percent.

Imagine if we were to go from a perceived war criminal to a black man with a Muslim name. Just knowing how that would drive the racists in America nuts, puts me on the floor in uncontrolled laughter.

Wow!

Well, that’s it Kid. Those are my thoughts on Election 2008. My advice is to stay informed. Good information translates to good decisions.

Peace, Hope, and Love.

I remain,

Your Father

D. B. Guidinger © All Rights Reserved 2008